California to seek beds for mental health, drug treatment

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. expansion / ɪkˈspæn ʃən / (n.) – the process of increasing in size or number

    The expansion of the company has slowed down because of the country’s unstable economy.

  2. unhouse / ʌnˈhaʊz / (v.) – to remove someone from his/her house or shelter

    Some citizens had to be unhoused for the new subway project.

  3. come to grips with (something) / kʌm tə grɪps wɪθ / (idiom) – to try to understand and solve an issue

    We need to come to grips with the customers’ concerns so that we can address them quickly.

  4. encampment / ɛnˈkæmp mənt / (n.) – tents or temporary houses that are in one place

    After the storm, a lot of families lived in an encampment until they can safely go back to their houses.

  5. oversight / ˈoʊ vərˌsaɪt / (n.) – the task of directing work and making sure that it is done correctly or properly

    The department was given oversight of implementing new policies.


Read the text below.

California voters would decide whether to fund a major expansion of housing and treatment for residents suffering from mental illness and addiction, under the latest proposal by Gov. Gavin Newsom to address the state’s homelessness crisis.

Newsom announced that he will ask allies in the Democratic-controlled Legislature for a measure on the 2024 ballot to authorize funding to build residential facilities where up to 12,000 people a year could live and be treated. The plan is the latest by the governor who took office in 2019 vowing to own the issue of homelessness in a state where an estimated 171,000 were unhoused last year.

The governor called the plan the next step in how California expands services for unhoused people, especially those with psychological and substance use disorders.

“We have to address and come to grips with the reality of mental health in this state and our nation. The question is, what can we do more and do better?” Newsom said at a news conference.

California, home to nearly 40 million people, has nearly one-third of the nation’s homeless population, and their numbers are growing much faster than in other states, according to an analysis of federal data by the Public Policy Institute of California. Tent encampments have popped up on sidewalks and under freeway overpasses, and people in clear mental health crisis are a common sight on city streets.

The initiative would be partially funded by general obligation bonds that would raise between $3 billion and $5 billion to go toward the construction of “campus-style” facilities along with smaller homes and long-term residential settings, Newsom said.

In addition, it would overhaul California’s Mental Health Services Act, an initiative approved by voters in 2004 that charges a 1% tax on incomes greater than $1 million to fund mental health services. Some lawmakers complained that money from the initiative bypassed those who needed it the most, and Newsom’s office said the new version would improve oversight for counties.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • California voters would have to decide whether to fund a major expansion of housing and treatment for residents with mental illness and addiction. If you were a California voter, would you agree to fund this major expansion of housing and treatment? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Aside from housing and treatment, how else do you think the government can help unhoused people, especially those with psychological and substance use disorders? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The proposed housing would have “campus-style” facilities along with smaller homes and long-term residential settings. What facilities do you think should be included in the housing project (ex. a free clinic, a supermarket)? Why? Discuss.
  • Should housing projects be completely free? Why or why not? Discuss.